Welcome to the OutUK series looking at gay men and their health brought to you in association with the NHS website.
Each week we'll tackle a different topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We'll have features and advice on everything from relationships, sexual health, mental and physical conditions and how to stay fit. You can follow any of links provided below for more information direct from the NHS website, or view any of our Previous A to Z Features.
You should also know that OutUK has produced a special report about: Coronavirus Covid-19.

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This Week - D : Dandruff

Dandruff is a common skin condition. It's not harmful and you cannot catch it.

Check if it's dandruff

The flakes are often more noticeable in darker hair and if they fall from your scalp onto your shoulders.

Your scalp may also feel dry and itchy.

How to treat dandruff yourself

Use an anti-dandruff shampoo to treat dandruff. There are several different types you can buy from pharmacies or supermarkets.

Look for a shampoo that contains 1 of these ingredients:

  • zinc pyrithione
  • salicylic acid
  • selenium sulphide (or selenium sulfide)
  • ketoconazole
  • coal tar

A pharmacist can tell you how to use the shampoo.

Use the shampoo for a month to see if your dandruff gets better. You might need to try more than 1 type to find a shampoo that works for you.

Find a pharmacy

See a GP if:

  • you still have dandruff symptoms after using anti-dandruff shampoo for a month
  • your dandruff is bad or your scalp is very itchy
  • your scalp is red or swollen
  • you have flaky, itchy patches on your face or other parts of your body

The GP can check your scalp for skin conditions that could be causing your dandruff.

Causes of dandruff

Dandruff is not caused by poor hygiene, although it may be more obvious if you do not wash your hair regularly.

Stress and cold weather may also make dandruff worse.

Symptoms Possible causes
Scaly, itchy and red patches on skin on scalp, face and other areas of the body Seborrheic dermatitis
Red or silver rash on scalp, sometimes with patchy hair loss Tinea capitis, known as ringworm
Dry, red, flaky and very itchy skin on areas of the body Eczema
Red, irritated skin, may also have blisters and cracked skin; reaction to products such as hair dye, sprays, gels or mousses Contact dermatitis
Red, flaky, crusty and sore patches of skin covered with silvery scales Psoriasis
Greasy, yellowish crusts on baby's scalp, eyebrows and nappy area Cradle cap

Do not worry if you're not sure what's causing your dandruff. Follow the advice on this page and see a GP if things do not get better in a month.

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We'll have more information and advice next week on another topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We have covered many subjects in this series and you can catch up with all of our Previous A to Z Features.

If you want to find out more about this week's subject you can visit the Original article on the NHS website. If you are worried by any aspect of your health make sure you go and see your doctor or book an appointment at your local clinic.

Photos: LightFieldStudios and one of VladOrlov, Stockcube, darak77, ajr_images or rawpixel.com.


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